Pearl Harbor Survivors Visit NOSC Spokane

Story Number: NNS091208-24Release Date: 12/8/2009 5:41:00 PM
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By Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Eric Guptill, Navy Operational Support Center, Spokane Public Affairs

SPOKANE, Wash. (NNS) -- Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Spokane honored Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day during a ceremony Dec. 5 at the center.

Pearl Harbor survivors and their family members attended the event which included a dramatic reading by Carol Edgemon Hipperson, author of "Radioman: An Eyewitness Account of Pearl Harbor and WWII in the Pacific," a biography centered on the experiences of former Navy radioman 2nd Class Ray Daves - who was also in attendance.

From the first assault of low-flying Japanese planes, through the beginnings of the attack; the audience listened to what the survivors endured Dec. 7, 1941. The stirring portrait of what Daves witnessed, heard and felt helped to bring a level of understanding of what it was like to be stationed on Oahu that day.

"I saw the splashes in the water all around them, like they were caught in a rainstorm, but their white uniforms were covered with red blotches, and there were pools of blood forming around their bodies in the water. Most of the liberty boats and the men in them were blown to pieces...," Daves was quoted as saying in the book.

Prior to the book reading, Reservists had the opportunity to sit down and talk with the survivors one-on-one, getting an even more personal account of each individual's military service history, as well as their experiences during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The veterans even offered time afterwards for those service members who had questions of a more personal nature.

"[I was] in awe that they went through it all and I was surprised at the amount they remembered," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Deven Fredericks.

Lt. Cmdr. Lori Heiner stated, "I was humbled by the experience; their accountings brought the event to life, something the history books cannot do."

The event was a welcome addition to the normal duties that coincide with NOSC Spokane's December drill weekend.

"I feel privileged to provide a forum where our Sailors, past and present, can meet to learn from one another. Ralph Virene, Ray Daves, Ray Garland, Sid Kennedy, Denis Mikkelsen, Warren Schott and Charlie Boyer relived their stories for us and asked nothing in return. It was the perfect way to show support for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and to remember our military history. It was an unprecedented event, enriching the lives of the military members in attendance and providing faces and names to an historical event that held such significance in American history," said Lt. Cmdr. Kimberly Pizanti, commanding officer, NOSC Spokane.

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